Today we live in a world were consumption of innumerable products continues to grow. With each new product or market niche discovered and exploited, the capitalist law of designed obsolescence becomes more apparent. Everything we buy ends up in a land fill coming to a low-income neighborhood near, but not too near, you--unless of course you are planning on stashing everything for a profitable appearance on the "Antique Roadshow" some day. Even our trash now has commodity value. Bad Subjects seeks short, accessible essays relating to the politics of everyday life for its March/April issue on the topic of Garbage. What is the role of garbage in our world today? Is there such a thing as garbage in the material sense, or, as demonstrated by the intense rise in collectibles of every sort over the past five years, has capitalism managed to turn its waste into something other than garbage? What then are the new disposables of the 21st Century? Is garbage now confined to immaterial social institutions and beliefs once viewed as indispensable? What is the status of family? Friendship? Love? Parenting? Charity? Ethics? This is not an old fashioned argument for right-wing Christian family values. Rather it is a query to explore the interrelationship of the continual rise of the material commodity to the point where almost everything that's physical is potentially a commodity (a sacred materiality) and the seeming restructuring of the immaterial as expendable, unimportant, irrelevant--garbage. Property values now matter more than accessible housing. Profits for share holders takes precedent over stable labor markets and wages that maintain a quality standard of living. Good jobs and expensive lifestyles demand that parents work at the office more than with family. So answer this question: what is garbage today -- and why?
1,500 to 2,000 word article submissions are due March 6, 2001. Please submit to issue editors Robert Soza at firstname.lastname@example.org or Frederick Luis Aldama at email@example.com.
Robert Soza at firstname.lastname@example.org or Frederick Luis Aldama at email@example.com.
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